Tuesday, April 02, 2013

The Mongolie Grill (Southside)


My impression of The Mongolie Grill is an Asian chain catered to the non-Asian population by means of the unique experience of watching your own customized stir-fry cook on a giant circular grill.


I've always equated the chain to fast food or food court fare, so I didn't expect the setting to be so posh. The lighting was dim, tables were set with white tablecloths and candles, and translucent silky black drapes served as partitions. We were even greeted by 3 hostesses at the entrance.


The menu offered a few starters and an approximate price for the stir-fry. Our server told us the food was $2.99/100 grams, but since there were no scales in the food area, there was no way of knowing how much food we took before paying at the counter.


The selection of toppings was quite good with a variety of veggies, meats and sauces.


There were even pineapple chunks and rice noodles.


A sign with general guidelines as to how much sauce to add was posted over the sauce station, but it's still a challenge to achieve a decent flavour. Since I didn't have an idea of what any of the sauces tasted like, I could only imagine what would taste good together and what amount would suffice. I didn't like the idea of leaving the seasoning up to the amateur.


The stir-fry came with complimentary soup and a side of white or brown rice. I opted for hot and sour soup which tasted strangely starchy and slightly sweet. I thought I was drinking sweet and sour sauce mixed with corn starch and water. It was probably the most unauthentic hot and sour soup I've ever had, even more so than the one at Shanghai Grill.


The food I picked up earlier was served with rice shortly after. The metal bowl I used to pick up the ingredients was half full when I paid, but the portions looked pitifully small after being cooked on the grill. The plate of food pictured below cost around $14 and I was barely full after finishing it. And I suppose you could blame it on my poor food prep skills, but the stir-fry really didn't taste all that great. Also someone at the table had ordered brown rice but was given white rice. The server said he would bring a side of brown rice over, but he didn't get around to it until the end of the meal when everyone had already finished eating.


This experience has confirmed my initial impression of the chain — food court fare at fine dining prices. In fact, the food I had was even worse than food court fare. I'll take Edo Japan, Teriyaki Experience, and even KFC over this place anytime.

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